OTTAWA, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the world's top scientists are jointly releasing an open letter to the federal government opposing the planned closure of Canada's famed Experimental Lakes Area (ELA). The letter is addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister Keith Ashfield, and Minister Peter Kent, and is authored by the most distinguished and decorated aquatic and environmental scientists in the world—researchers who have been awarded the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in ecology.
In the open letter, the scientists "strongly urge" the Government of Canada to reconsider its decision to close the ELA. They further call upon the Government to recognize the importance of the ELA to the Government's mandate to "study, preserve, and protect aquatic ecosystems".
The authors also state in the letter that the Government's termination of the ELA is "only one example of the many recent cuts to federal environmental programming" which "seriously undermine our capacity to protect and manage Canada's freshwater and marine resources."
Dr. David Schindler, one of the open letter's Canadian authors, says "ELA work is internationally recognized as an important basis for sound environmental policy, by politicians as well as scientists. It's the only site in the world where the scientific underpinnings of environmental policy can be tested at ecosystem scales. A recent article in the premier science journal Nature paralleled the loss of the ELA to ecological sciences with the science of nuclear physics losing the U.S. Los Alamos to closure. The comparison is very apt."
The Open Letter is available in English and French at www.saveela.org.
The ELA is a unique, irreplaceable research program that helps ensure clean drinking water and freshwater fish for Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast. On May 17, 2012, the Government of Canada informed employees behind closed doors that the ELA will be shutdown in March 2013. All scientists and support staff of the facility received "affected" letters.
The Coalition to Save ELA is a non-partisan group of scientists and citizens concerned about the future of Canada's Experimental Lakes Area.
For further information:
Media contacts: Coalition to Save ELA
Diane Orihel (Central Canada), Tel: 204-979-2395, Email: [email protected]
Heidi Swanson (Western Canada), Tel: 587-708-1322, Email: [email protected]
Jason Venkiteswaran (Eastern Canada), Tel: 519-897-3527, Email:[email protected]